At the New Helen DeVos Children's Hospital, play is everywhere

2:54 PM, Jan 3, 2011   |    comments
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Nurses station at the new Helen DeVos Children's Hospital

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) - When your child is hospitalized, you want to make sure they are getting the best care. At the Helen DeVos Children's Hospital that care extends beyond the doctors to a fully-trained Child Life staff to organize play time.

And at the new Helen DeVos Children's Hospital, it will be expanded to include 11 floors and an outdoor garden.

The new playroom is nearly three times as large as the old one.  "This kind of room will allow us to meet the needs of many children," said Jodi Bauers, the head of the hospital's Child Life staff. She says having more space means also having more toys and activities tucked inside larger storage areas that they've never had before. "So you may be able to pull something out of a cupboard or a closet, which we're really excited about."

Something else their really excited about?? "No more VHS tapes! We're thrilled," says Bauers.

Until now, many rooms were only equipped with VHS players but the new patient rooms will have On Demand TV's and the play room Bauers says, will have something even better. "We have a movie screen so we can show movie night and we can clear all this out and be able to put down quite a few chairs."

But play extends beyond the playroom to every area of the new hospital, including an outdoor garden. "I really hope that we can have a garden series and be able to bring in some local musicians and really local creative artists to be able to share their talents with kids," says Bauers.

There is even a family library and the hope is to schedule story time for those who want to volunteer to read to kids. The new space will also allow the Child Life staff to welcome community organizations who want to plan special programs and events for patients.

And with so many options, the children may even forget, at least for a few hours, that they are in the hospital.

The new Helen DeVos Children's Hospital opens a week from Tuesday on January 11th, 2011.


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